HC ac­quits Sal­man Khan of all charges in 2002 accident case

HC quashed trial court’s con­vic­tion or­der, ruled pros­e­cu­tion failed to prove ac­tor was drunk

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Aye­sha Arvind aye­sha.arvind@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: The Bom­bay high court ac­quit­ted ac­tor Sal­man Khan on Thurs­day of all charges in a 2002 hit-and-run case, over­turn­ing a trial court ver­dict that held him guilty of driv­ing over and killing a man in a case that has gripped In­dia for more than a decade.

Khan, dressed in a che­quered shirt and blue jeans, kept a straight face as the judg­ment was de­liv­ered, but broke down af­ter jus­tice AR Joshi left the packed court­room, even as the Bol­ly­wood star’s lawyers scram­bled to fin­ish le­gal for­mal­i­ties that would set him free.

The 49-year-old ac­tor was held guilty by the lower court of run­ning his Toy­ota Land Cruiser over a group of peo­ple sleep­ing on a pave­ment in Ban­dra, killing one of them and in­jur­ing four oth­ers. But the high court ruled that the pros­e­cu­tion had failed to prove “be­yond rea­son­able doubt” that the ac­tor was driv­ing the ve­hi­cle at the time of the accident and was drunk. “The ap­peal is al­lowed. The trial court’s ver­dict is quashed and set aside...Sal­man is ac­quit­ted of all the charges,” the judge said.

Khan had ap­pealed against the ses­sions court’s or­der that de­liv­ered a five-year jail sen­tence af­ter con­vict­ing him of cul­pa­ble homi­cide not amount­ing to mur­der.

The pros­e­cu­tion, which is the state of Ma­ha­rash­tra, may chal­lenge this judg­ment in the SC.

CON­TIN­UED ON P8

TOO MANY TWISTS

AND TURNS, P14

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